Notable quotes from Mind master - Viswanathan Anand


Kurian Benoy


August 9, 2020

Hello all, I am back with a few notable quotes from Mind Master by Viswanathan Anand. I am not a chess expert and know some of the basic moves. I recently picked up chess, after seeing Pranav Shridhar and Joel playing chess after In out Hackathon, Bangalore - 2019. The only chess player, most of Indians, know is Viswanathan Anand and maybe Magnus Carlsen too after bitter 2013 World Championship loss in Chennai.

This book is not merely a chess book. In my opinion, the best thing in this book was how a 5-time world champion approaches games and winning mentality. Anand talks about the state of AI in chess, attitude needed for any winners in any field, how to grab your advantage and lot of life advice are there. I am sharing a few exciting parts in this book

The way I see it, talent is a lot like a plant. When it’s watered with hard work, it grows and blooms. Deprived of nourishment, the plant simply withers away. With hard work, talent gains in depth and scope, and uncovers newer abilities that were earlier unexplored. And hard work is not just about plugging away at something. It involves thinking intelligently about what you want to achieve, the goals you’re setting, how you’re improving on your innate skills or talents, and how you can incorporate all of this into the list of things that will help you scale that peak.

State of AI in chess:
- Gary Kasprov moment when IBM computers beat was not a key advancement.
- There are more opportunities to learn and get itself used in the board.
- Understand the potential moves, like vishy did in 2007 World chess championship.
- Adapting to change is necessary.
- Practise moves which required like weeks of preparation by team for four in 1990s can be done
by computer in like few  minutes.

In any situation in life, being adaptable is the only way to grow and succeed. You may have skills that you’ve perfected, a certain worldview that worked for you at a particular stage – but the reality is that circumstances change, and you can’t be prepared for everything.

Every advantage you have can be chipped away slowly, and if you’re not mindful of your present and are busy visualizing future celebrations, then you may not eventually quite be a part of it.

The lead this game gave me was a luxury, but I restrained myself from celebrating too quickly. I’d suffered from the consequences of doing that earlier – relaxing when I should have been focused, or letting the excitement of an anticipated win take over. There is a difference between having an overwhelming lead and actually finishing a game on top. In these moments, it’s important to be acutely mindful of your present, find calm and keep yourself grounded. If you’re too busy visualizing future success it may eventually give you the slip.

No matter what you’re up against, you have to give yourself some odds of success. If you’ve done the right preparation following the best methods, you have to go out there and believe in what you know. If you talk yourself out of everything, you’re undermining the advantages you have right there.

No matter what your odds are, you should never gamble too much. There’s a difference between gambling and preparing to take a risk. What Topalov did on the board was a spur-of-the-moment act, which almost brought me to a winning position in three moves.

The effort you put into a winning match and a losing match is, in fact, exactly the same. But when you win you feel every bit of your work has paid off, and when you lose you feel you needn’t have bothered putting in any effort at all. The results of this game for me may not have been as convincing as in Bonn, but it was expected that my opponent would base his preparations on that match, walk himself through the surprises I’d employed there and anticipate my moves more closely. What worked most effectively for us was the team’s ability and willingness to be flexible. They responded to the sudden turn of events – from a volcanic ash cloud and the disruption of travel plans to the rumours of the ‘super’ weapon in the opponent’s hands – with minimum fuss and maximum practicability.

(So true, So true …)

Resilience is the only answer to adversity. When tough situations arise – and they sometimes arrive like a hailstorm – your primary focus should be on accepting that although it is not the way you would want things to be, it is what you have to deal with, and then tackle it with practicality. It’s also important to remember that no matter what you’re up against.

Some degree of visualization at the emotional level might reduce this feeling of hopelessness. For instance, in difficult times, some people like to focus on life events or situations that are pleasant. They think about winning, climbing on to a podium, picture themselves with a medal around their necks or holding up a trophy, and that makes them feel better. The method I tend to favour is imagining everything going disastrously for me. I think of the mistakes I could make and I try to think of what it will be like if I lose a match. I find that it calms me down when I imagine that I can engage in activities other than chess – bury myself in a book, peer at the star-studded sky through a powerful pair of binoculars that log on to offering astro-imaging and access to telescopes across both the northern and the southern hemispheres – and life will go on. This kind of visualization, which looks at the bigger picture, has always helped me deal with my fears and hopes. In a sense, I try to diminish the importance of the scenario in

Success can often lull you into believing in what is non-existent – that you have no chink in your armour; that your occasional wins make you invincible; that there is nothing for you to improve upon. Life does not raise red flags unprompted. Look for the cues – they will ask you to identify and work on your weaknesses, disallow passivity in your attitude, thought and preparation for success. Even when you hit the lowest point, they will offer a handy start to hitting the road to recovery.

Hope this pieces from the book which I jotted down when I was reading the book will be helpful for you in whatever pursuits you are aiming for. I am planning to be consistently write a blogpost every week.